by Diditi Mitra
We saw this advertisement for Best Way, presumably a real estate company, in the Doaba region of Punjab. Signs, just like this one, show that people have resources in the area or else why would one find advertisements for property sale/purchase?
So it might be important to consider how that wealth is distributed which, in turn, is used to invest in purchase of land or other kinds of property, most likely to demonstrate a higher, or a rising, social status.
Economic reports on Punjab, although reports have shown an overall decline in the state’s prosperity over the years, continue to suggest that the state is still located higher up on the wealth index. The same report shows that it ranks highest in percentage of households with durables, like computers, and has the lowest percentage of households with no durable asset at all, like cell phones and bicycles. However, high position in the wealth index is not accompanied by a lower gap in inequality between the advantaged and disadvantaged social groups. In fact, Punjab shows high social inequality.
It is important to note that a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor is a global phenomenon, including India as a whole. Punjab is not alone in this.
Nonetheless, Punjab continues to be one of the places that is doing “well.” The question thus arises, and afore mentioned: who is doing well and are the targets of “property advisors?” Clearly, there are people with sufficient wealth in the state who can purchase property. We saw the huge immigrant Punjabi mansions discussed in our previous post with our own eyes. So then are the immigrants the ones whose attention advertisements like the one above are trying to attract? Or, perhaps it’s those who have benefited from economic liberalization in India the aim of property advisors? I will leave the questions for you to ponder.
For now though, suffice it is to know that wealth is accumulated by Punjabis (and Indians) as well as immigrants from Punjab, people who are selected segments of the “Indian” population but, it is definitely not had evenly by all.
(Go here for the first post in the series)